Tom Slaughter is co-owner of Lost Maples Winery and is also the winemaker. Lost Maples is part of Texas Hill Country Wineries and is in the southern end of the Hill Country. A trip to Lost Maples Winery will offer you gorgeous views of the surrounding hills and really show you why it is called the Hill Country. Tom answered our questions for this month’s winemaker profile.
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I played in Mickey Gilley’s Band for about 20 years as well as other bands. I owned a chain of music stores in Houston and I worked with Mercedes-Benz for 20 years as a car dealer.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The only challenge about making wine in Texas is to get your customers to try Texas wines. When they do, then they are convinced that we can make great wines.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Winemaking has a lot to do with the quality of your fruit. and then using the best sanitation in finishing your product.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
My favorite food would be a nice slice of prime rib with a glass of Petite Sirah, and pairing other seafood with my white wines.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
Well, if I did not make wine, I would be fishing in the Caribbean.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
We started growing back in 2005 with the first harvest in 2009. We realized that we were reaching 25-26 Brix in our sugar, so the next thing was to go to to school to learn the art of winemaking.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
One of the most asked questions as a winemaker is why did I pick the property that I am growing on. My answer is that the property was a Mexican land grant property in my wife’s family before Texas was a state. My wife’s family came over from France and settled this country. This is the Polvadeau area of the Hill Country. The name of our wines is Polvadeau as well as the family name.
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
After a long day in the winery or vineyard? Well, I am open six days a week (1 p.m. – 7 p.m.) and on the seventh day I need to get supplies in San Antonio for the next week’s startup.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
I have the greatest felling about winemaking when I blend some of my wines to really come up with a smooth front end and a nice finish with no after tastes. That’s when I feel great about my products. Your customers will let you know.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
My philosophy is to make banner quality wines. Texas wines can be great. We have the technology to grow in outer space. Why not grow the best grapes we can in Texas and make the best wines?
- Anything else you would like to add?
As mentioned in the beginning, my first career was playing in a band (25 years) with some of the top artists like Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee, Billy Gibbons, and Jerry Lee Lewis. I am private labeling wines for Mickey Gilley and will be private labeling for other top artists in the future.